A young woman decided to have her leg amputated after a simple stress fracture she suffered walking down a street wouldn’t heal.
Victoria Snell, 26, suffered the freak injury while strolling on the pavement after visiting a cinema – but has since been in and out of hospital for the last six years.
She underwent a total of four operations, having several bone grafts and metal plates installed, but nothing seemed to work.
Facing a fifth operation to have a cage fitted around her leg Snell, who is from Plymouth, Devon, but now living in Manchester, decided enough was enough – and told the doctors to chop her leg off.
Her ordeal started when her leg snapped while walking with a friend. (SWNS)
“In the end it was a horrible decision but an easy one,” Snell said. “I knew my leg wasn’t getting me anywhere and I knew with prosthetics I could have a better life than my actual leg could give me.”
Snell, who works in customer services, was 20 at the time of the break and said she didn’t fall, trip or in any way suffer an impact – but her leg just snapped as she walked.
“I thought I had sprained my ankle, I’m a bit clumsy, I walk into stuff a lot,” she said. “I had been to the cinema in Plymouth and every ten steps it was getting more and more painful. Eventually I heard it snap very audibly.”
In 2015 Snell had a taylor spatial frame put on but again the leg wouldn’t heal. (SWNS)
“My friend who was with me did too, she said, ‘What was that?’ I said, ‘I think it was my leg,'” Snell recounted.
Snell was rushed to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where she was patched up and had her leg coated in plaster.
“I was in hospital for about a week,” she continued. “They did a bunch of tests because your average 20-year-old doesn’t break a leg walking down the street. Thankfully they all came back OK, it’s just my bones are a bit rubbish.”
It was another two years before she would be on the operating table, in January 2013.
First, she had a bone graft and a metal plate installed but the pain continued.
Her doctors then checked her over and realized her right leg was about an inch shorter than the other.
Snell said the decision to amputate her leg empowered her and has helped her get her life back. (SWNS)
On June 2015, Snell had a taylor spatial frame put on but again the leg wouldn’t heal.
“I kind of got used to going there all the time,” she said. “By the time we got to the third surgery I knew what to expect, I knew I had to take time off work, I knew what was happening. I accepted it was something I was going to have to go through for a couple of years.”
In October 2016, she was given another bone graft and had more metal plates installed – but they eventually gave way on April 1 last year.
Then, on June 22, Snell was back on the slab as doctors righted the last surgery, but again the leg refused to heal.
“I don’t think I lived like your average 20-something,” she said. “I didn’t go out and when people asked me what I did for a hobby I asked if Netflix counted as a hobby – I think it kinda does. I hadn’t been able to walk without pain for years, for the last three years I couldn’t walk unsupported.”
Facing a fifth operation, to have another leg cage fitted, Snell decided enough was enough and the leg had to go.
“I’ve had my prosthetic on for a couple of months and I’m getting around,” she said. “I haven’t used my wheel chair in like seven months. It’s liberating, empowering, it’s giving me my life back. I was back at work after eight weeks.”
Snell said she had the operation in December last year and her friends then threw an amputation party for her.
“It’s official title was ‘let’s get Vicky legless,'” she said. “It was a really good night, it was just a house party with a leg cake really. We had lots of drink and there was lots of food. We played pin the leg on Vicky.”